College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English

ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance

ESQ is devoted to the study of nineteenth-century American literature. We invite submission of original articles, welcome work grounded in a wide range of theoretical and critical perspectives, and encourage inquiries proposing submissions and projects. Please contact us with comments and queries.

Mission Statement

The oldest professional journal encompassing nineteenth-century American literature, ESQ began by focusing on the American Renaissance's traditional figures, and it continues to embrace scholarship that emphasizes Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Whitman, and Hawthorne. Over time it has expanded its scope to include nineteenth-century American literature and culture more broadly, publishing essays on such subjects as women's health, ship captain's wives' diaries, and transatlantic land claims, and on such writers as Lydia Maria Child, James McClune Smith, George Lippard, William Wells Brown, Julia Ward Howe, and Sarah Piatt. ESQ invites essays that illuminate any aspect of American literature and culture in the long nineteenth century. Submissions that foreground writers/subjects/texts outside the 1800-1899 period should ideally connect to that era's concerns: thus, those that begin before 1800 might explore how a writer or movement anticipates or helps inaugurate an idea, genre, or concern that only later emerges fully, while contributors focusing after 1899 might indicate how a nineteenth-century writer/idea/genre exerts continuing authority. The journal also welcomes submissions that conceptualize alternative American renaissances; that focus on Southern, Western, or Midwestern literatures; or that explore one or more ethnic American literatures. While ESQ encompasses such familiar theoretical approaches as new historicism, reader response criticism, biographical criticism, borderlands studies, ethnic studies, and cultural studies, it encourages submissions that feature newer methodologies, including ecocriticism, transnationalism, animal studies, disability studies, materialist feminism, mobility studies, periodical studies, anthology studies, and affect studies. We also seek proposals for special issues that address a coherent subject area or exemplify a particular theoretical approach.


Help us launch a new enterprise:

"The Year in Conferences"/ a yearly, group-authored overview.

Special Issues Available From ESQ

Volume 55: 3-4 (2009)

"Come Again? New Approaches to Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Literature," guest edited by Christopher Castiglia and Christopher Looby, featuring essays by Jordan Alexander Stein, Elizabeth Fenton, Valerie Rohy, Dana Luciano, and Heather Love

Volume 54:1-4 (2008)

"Poetry" edited by Augusta Rohrbach. This substantial volume engages genre as such and poetry in particular to recalibrate—both theoretically and practically—the place of poetry in the study of nineteenth-century American literature and culture. Contributors include Max Cavitch, Michael Cohen, Rebecka Rutledge Fisher, Kirsten Silva Gruesz, Virginia Jackson, Mary Leoffelholz, Eliza Richards, Jessica Forbes Roberts, Bethany Schneider, Martha Nell Smith, and Ivy Wilson.

Volume 52:1-2 (2006)

"Native Americans: Writing and Written," guest edited by Carolyn Sorisio,with essays by Eric Anderson, Yael Ben-zvi, Renée Bergland, Leslie Eckel, and Ed Whitley

Volume 51:1-3 (2005)

"Melville in the Marquesas: Actuality of Place in Typee and Other Island Writings," a symposium by G. R. Thompson, including a centerpiece essay by Robert Suggs (formerly of the American Museum of Natural History) and responses by Ruth Blair, John Bryant, Alex Calder, T. Walter Herbert, Samuel Otter, Lee Quinby, Geoffrey Sanborn, and Vanessa Smith

Volume 50: 1-3 (2004)

"American Literary Globalism," guest edited by Wai Chee Dimock and Lawrence Buell, featuring essays by Jonathan Arac, Homi Bhabha, Russ Castronovo, Wai Chee Dimock, Donald Pease, Joseph Roach, and Doris Sommer

Volume 49: 1-3 (2003)

"Reexamining the American Renaissance," with David Ball, Russ Castronovo, Phyllis Cole, Betsy Erkkilä, Sharon Harris, Penelope Kelsey, Maurice Lee, Robert Milder, Julie Cary Nerad, Larry Reynolds, John Carlos Rowe, Jeffrey Steele, and Albert J. von Frank

Department of English, PO Box 645020, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5020, 509-335-2581. Contact ESQ